Wednesday 7 December 2016

Medb Ruane: Research into family killings tells us little about the horrific reality

Published 20/11/2010 | 05:00

No more normal: This week Una Butler lost her young daughters Ella, and Zoe.
No more normal: This week Una Butler lost her young daughters Ella, and Zoe.

Tuesday should have been a normal day in Ballycotton, Co Cork. Bad news blaring as usual on morning radio, fishermen checking the weather report, families sharing breakfast before facing the day.

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By nightfall, the future had changed for this seaside community. There was no more normal. Their friend and neighbour Una Butler, née O'Riordan, had lost her husband John and two little girls, Zoe (7) and Ella (2), in a frightening, inexplicable way.

Evening news showed pictures of John Butler's burnt-out car, which had exploded on impact when it crashed into a tree a few kilometres away from the house where his dead daughters lay. He'd bought a five-gallon drum of petrol minutes before.

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